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How to be be a good couchsurfing guest

Updated on March 12, 2011

How to be a good couchsurfing guest

Unfortunately, too many new Couchsrufers mistake it for a „free place to crash“ some kind of alternative to a hostel. Read here for a basic introductioin about Couchsurfing. But CS is completely different. It is NOT a „service“. It is an act of expressing humaneness. Hospitality that does not expect money in return. Here is my article about what couchsurfing is really all about.

Once you found a couch, consider these tips:

Tips for being a good (couchsurfing) guest

  • Bring a present:

    Just because surfing and being a member of the site is free it doesen`t mean that you should take advantage of peoples` hospitatlity. Bring something - even if very small - to show your appreciation to the host. Think of it that way: you are going to visit an old friend in another town that you haven`t seen for ages. Sure thing you will bring a present, something you knew he/she liked!

  • Do the dishes:

    I hosted many people too and i especially enjoyed the guests who „got the message“: I cook, so you do the dishes. A fair deal. It is a free, easy and uncomplicated act to show your appreciacion and to show that you are self-consistant. There is nothing more annoying than a guest who cannot take charge for himself/herself and that needs to be looked after 24 hours a day. Why not offer your host to cook a meal from your country?

  • Clear communication:

    Before arrival: Inform your host CLEARLY about when, how and where you arrive. Most hosts also, will give you directioins or tell you where they will meet you. Stick to that and let them now exactly when and how you arrive. This is best to include in the second message, after you received an acceptance of your couchrequest. After arrival: Before bedtime, ask your host when you need to get up. Do not expect to get a key. Your host might offer it, but it is entirely the hosts desicion. Either way, inform your host about what you are planning to do the next day and when to expect you back. Then stick to the time you gave.

  • Be tidy:

    Don`t distribute all your things in the entire appartment and bathroom. Ask your host where to put your backpack and then use this designated area for that. It`s good to keep your stuff there and not use 10 times more space than really needed.

    Do not distribute your toiletteries in the hosts bathroom unless it is being accepted. Here is some help about packing light.

  • Give your host 1-2hours a day „off“ from you if you can. If you only stay for one night that is imppssible. Do take a shower then, which gives a 20min break. Do not shower for hours! If you are staying longer: Come home a little later than your host. He/She will appreciate to have „his appartment“ to himself again when he comes back from a hard day at work.

  • Learn the customs of the country, that is why you are there

    If you hadn´t had a chance to read much before the trip, NOW is the best time to learn. Ask your host about differences and customs. That is a good way to chat and learning something new from your host. You could ask about living costs, standards, how your host found this beautiful apartment, etc. Show your respect by switching off the lights when you leave a room. In some places electricity costs alot of money. I once had a guest who didn`t switch off the lights and didn`t even turn off the water tap after using it.. Remember: What is ok in YOUR country, is not necessarily OK in other countries.

    -> If you are unsure: ask your host.

  • Enjoy your stay! 

Read here for advice on writing couchrequests!


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